Taku-He: A Review
by Luce Allan
After finding the perfect small-town location to shoot scenes for their new horror movie, a film crew delves into the local mythology that revolves around a Bigfoot-esque creature called the Taku-He, whose alleged habitat is within the nearby woods. In Taku-He (2017), the crew's hunt for the titular beast thrusts them into a gruesome race for survival.
Taku-He, which is currently in the post-production phase, rises above many of the classic pitfalls of an independent film. The plot is coherent and fully-realized, the cinematography (particularly the outdoor shots) is generally crisp and consistent, and the performances by the cast are, on the whole, convincing and engaging. The characters themselves are notable for their carefully-crafted dimensions; the familial connection between them adds a sweetness to the film that makes the eventual series of deaths more palpably tragic. The suspense in the climax and ending is potent, never losing its momentum once the action begins, and the twist at the end is subtle yet powerful.
While keeping its production status in mind, the film has certain main details that could be tightened. For example, the lengths of certain sequences stall the movie's pacing, particularly during the interview collection in the first half of the film. As much of the film's primary excitement is put into motion during its last 25-30 minutes, condensing some of the earlier, more repetitive segments would strengthen the pacing as a whole. Another possible area of improvement involves the Taku-He itself, as its presence is often so visible that its sense of mystery and terror is lost. The costume used for the Taku-He often looks a bit artificial when the camera lingers on the creature, which may take viewers out of the experience. If the Taku-He's presence were more brief, its scare factor would significantly increase.
Overall, Taku-He is a monster movie with promise and potential that could flourish with a few adjustments.
I went into this movie looking to get my campy B movie monster fix and was not in the least bit disappointed. While this movie fits that bill pretty well, it also produces some real scares, some great characters, and some solid character building moments. The film is set up as a documentary shooting gone awry; the first few scenes are setting up the plot and then we go straight into shooting the interviews for exposition and then shit goes kind of sideways for the film crew.
I want to take a minute to talk about the interview stage. It was one of my favorite parts of the movie, the characters of the locals are super entertaining and they do a nice job of building the story. There’s even an interview with the one and only Han Solo. That’s right y’all the original gangsta of motherfuckin’ space cowboys himself! He has really let himself go since dying and all but he still gives the best interview without a doubt.
When shit goes sideways it goes all the way sideways. The crew does well until somebody makes the mistake of pissing in Taku-He’s territory. There are some fun practical effects that really hit the spot for me; the monster even gets in a clean ground and pound at one point. When it comes to kicking ass, Taku-He shows up and teaches a class of Whoop Ass 101. Even though the characters were all incredibly well written and likeable the death scenes were still pretty damned satisfying.
I enjoyed the hell out of this film. It was a fun well-shot movie with a few good scares and some genuine moments between the cast. I would be dead ass wrong not to mention the scream of the Taku-He, that thing is what nightmares sound like. Loud, primal, pissed off nightmares. Final verdict? Watch it if you get a chance; if you dig bigfoot, monster flicks, and good writing you’ll like this movie.